True Widow – As High As The Highest Heavens…(Kemado Records)

True Widow




Even in its abbreviated form of ‘AHATHHAFTCTTCOTE’ (As high as the highest heavens and from the center to the circumference of the Earth), the three-piece Texan doom merchant’s second long player has one of the most exhaustively long monikers in all of Christendom. With a hint of sardonic tongue-firmly-in-cheek reverence, their tracks read like a self-aware ironic and esoteric list of devilish play, with such occultist tomes as Skull Eyes and Night Witches.

Musically they conjure-up a haulking brew that matches the more Gothic country rocking of The Dead Meadows, and the slow sostenuto drawn-out elegiac peformances found on any of Southern Lord label’s signings. Compared to the monolithic sonorous labouring shifts of Earth, True Widow move at a right royal pace; managing to, mostly, dodge the achingly minimalist dirge gloom, synonymous with stoner doom.

The shared boy/girl vocals of guitarist Dan Phillips and bassist Nikki Estill, add a real shoegazer whispery vapour to the leaden ominous backing. Nikki swoons like a siren, coaxing seafarers to their fate; her vocals drenched in layers of soaking reverb and murky resonance, whilst Dan despairs in grunge like displays of pained relief.

Their collection of nine paeans move between the dreamy cathartic slowcore of Jakyl, to the biblical scriptures eulogy of Boaz – imagine the Spaceman 3 reading the last rites as the Tower of Babel crumbles to the ground in the background.  Other memorable highlights include the Satanic Raveonettes/Suicide pact Wither, a broody posturing number whose only relief is a far from exertive shaking tambourine. As with all bedevilled monumental bands of this nature, there is the obligatorily epic finale, Doomster, an unholy tribal nine-minute oeuvre straight from the bowels of hell: now were talking!

Emerging from some imagined misty archane dimension, these crypt dwelling Texans bring a Mogodon induced Best Coast vibe to the meloncholy hardened wastelands of judgement day rock.

[Rating: 3.5]

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